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    Review: Deadly Class #4

    By | May 2nd, 2014
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Rick Remender and Wes Craig’s fatal journey through the latter half of the 1980’s as seen through the eyes of the world’s deadliest teenagers takes a psychedelic turn with issue #4! Check out our spoiler-free review below!

    Written by Rick Remender
    Illustrated by Wes Craig

    Class trip! Marcus, Willie, and Saya tear through a neon-soaked Las Vegas, high on life…oh, and a bunch of acid too. And when you’re a teenage killer-on-the-run, stalked by a mutilated psycho with a raging hard-on for revenge, you’re in for one baaad trip.

    Hey, have you guys heard of this “Deadly Class” series? It’s pretty darn neat. For the last three issues, Remender, Craig and Loughridge have introduced us to the world of Marcus Lopez and King’s Dominion High School for the Deadly Arts. Think of them as a non-powered X-Men that swaps out mutations for daggers and the vague human rights metaphor for  a violently nostalgic reflection on how wonderfully shitty being a teenager can be. Sometimes your homework feels like it’s killing you. Other times it literally is. Most of the time you’re fantasizing about murdering Ronald Reagan. We’ve all gone through that phase.

    It’s through this musing on adolescence where Remender really shines. He’s always excelled at grand ideas but they’re often hit or miss depending on how grounded in the characters they are.  “Deadly Class”, however, could quite possibly be the most powerful story he’s written yet. It’s a common trope for “young adult” stories like X-Men or Power Rangers to deal with “teenage” problems like drug abuse or playing hooky. But those titles always feature the idealized teenagers who don’t exist outside of the minds of parents or student governments working to save the poor broken souls who’ve fallen under the temptations of drink and punk rock. Here, it’s those kids (armed with a massive arsenal and enough skills to put the entire cast of Assassin’s Creed to shame) that take the spotlight and Remender gives each character a humanity that makes their excessive behavior a natural extensive of themselves, not just the type of gore, sex and drugs you might find in other comics  desperately struggling to look “gritty”.

    With Wes Craig on art duty, that’s hardly a problem for “Deadly Class”. His style is gritty, in a everyone looks like they showed up by walking through a Grateful Dead concert or someone’s entrails. I mentioned earlier that the implementation of violence, drugs, and all the stuff that after school specials told us would lead to our genitals being thrown into a blender in hell in “Deadly Class” felt natural and one of the prime reasons for that is Craig’s skill at imbuing his characters with real emotions. The one scene where two characters hug each other and talk about how much they love each other manages to be very adorable even though they just snorted some cocaine. It’s through scenes like this where we see the truth within these characters, how the stuff they do may be very taboo (or homicidal) but they’re still crazy, somewhat fun-loving kids at heart.  Also of note, with the acid trip that caps off the book, as well as the overall trippy feel of the issue, “Deadly Class” #4 defiantly shows that it can go far beyond the whacked-out teen killers angle it’s been running with for the past three issues (which admittedly isn’t a lot but hey it’s never too early to show that you’re not tied down to one aesthetic).

    In fact, “Deadly Class” #4 on the whole seems to be a sort of transitional piece for the series as a whole. It’s become a bit less focused on just Marcus’s story, finally bringing in the rest of the cast to the spotlight while offering a ton of timely humor (or 1987 humor at least). Expanding on the rest of the world where King’s Dominion resides gives the series a greater level of depth, moving away from just Marcus’s quest from vengeance into a more extensive look at adolescence, drugs, and punk rock. This is probably the first issue of “Deadly Class” that’s bereft of violence and through that choice Remender and Craig give their series a ton of versatility. “Deadly Class” has always been a comic to have on your radar but with issue #4 it’s elevated its quality even further. And if the end of the issue is any indication, the next few chapters of the “Deadly Class” saga are gonna be pretty damn wild.

    Continued below

    Final Verdict: 8.4 – Buy!

    James Johnston

    James Johnston is a grizzled post-millenial. Follow him on Twitter to challenge him to a fight.